Astronomy & Spirituality
in Our Daily Lives
Blending Knowledge and Understanding
with Love, Joy, Awe, and Faith
to Enhance Our Lives
and Deepen Our Connection
to ALL THAT IS
with astrophysicist Joyous Judy Young, Ph.D.
Joyous Judy Young, Ph.D., is a tenured full professor of astronomy at the University of Massachusetts, where she has been on the faculty since 1983. She received her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Minnesota in 1979, and her B.A. in astronomy from Radcliffe/Harvard in 1974. She is known around the world for her studies of star formation in galaxies, and has received numerous prestigious awards for her research, including the Annie J. Cannon Prize of the American Astronomical Society, the first Maria Goeppert-Mayer Award ever given by the American Physical Society, and a Sloan Research Fellowship. Her astronomical research has been funded for several decades by both NASA and the National Science Foundation.
In recent years Judy's professional interests have expanded to include public education, and her real love is the Sunwheel project. Inspired in 1992 by a Sunwheel on former Blackfeet Indian territory in Montana, Judy went on to build a stone circle with astronomical alignments on the campus of the University of Massachusetts in 1997 which she uses in the teaching of astronomy to her students and the public. This is the first original stone circle calendar to be built on a University campus in the world. She began hosting seasonal solstice and equinox sunrise and sunset gatherings at the U.Mass. Sunwheel in 1997, and since then she has given over 300 talks about the Sun and Moon and seasons to over 9,000 visitors to the Sunwheel. She was nominated for the Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of Massachusetts in 2002, and also the Distinguished Outreach Award in 2000.
Dr. Young has authored over
120 scientific publications, and presented over 400 astronomical talks and
seminars. For the past 4 years, she has taught meditation workshops
entitled "Exploring the Spiritual Universe", and she is currently
finishing a book about building the Sunwheel. Her spiritual journey is
her life, and she has blended this with her professional work through the
Sunwheel. Her dream is for stone circle calendars to be built around the
world to help people to connect with the sky and with each other. Judy
loves photography, gardening, singing, hiking, and writing, and especially
loves teaching people about the sky and helping them feel at home in the